Accountability In Relationships (13 Ways To Show Accountability)

Last updated on June 18, 2022 by April Maccario

“You know I don’t like it when you shout like that,” “Well then stop being so annoying!” These are commonly heard phrases when someone is playing the blame game and lacking accountability. 

Maybe you have expressed in the past that you do not like him shouting during an altercation, and he responds by telling you to stop aggravating him.

Here, he is not taking responsibility for his actions and has tried to shift that blame to his partner. People avoid issues in relationships because they feel they can get away with being complacent, uncaring, and irresponsible, and that’s unhealthy for any type of relationship; romantic or platonic. 

For couples who have regular relationship problems, this could be a deal-breaker. People who don’t own their shortcomings or mistakes will only cause more tension in the relationship. Taking accountability means not making excuses, apologizing when wrong, and being trustworthy

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, below, I’ll show you 13 ways of taking accountability in your relationship.

13 Ways To Show Accountability

1. Emphasize your strengths and improve your weaknesses

People have different strong points, some are better at managing tense situations, controlling their anger, or maybe even managing the finances. Maybe you are great at taking care of your partner, but not so great at expressing how you feel with words, that is, communicating. 

Concentrate more on taking care of your significant other and expressing your love through those means. However, this does not give you an excuse to be completely aloof on issues of communication. The key here is to be aware of what your weaknesses are and make conscious efforts to work on them while making your partner happy through your strengths.

2. Review yourself

Do you know how entrepreneurs take stock or inventory at the end of a business day or week? That can be applied in relationships as well. People tend to live their lives without stopping to think about how much they have improved, and the areas they need to buckle up in.

Taking a ‘self-inventory’ is a critical part of self-awareness and simply means evaluating yourself to know what you’re doing wrong or right. Reviewing one’s self requires complete honesty on your part, and you must try to be objective. You could also ask your partner what areas you could improve on, or confide in a close friend or family member.

3. Reward yourself

It’s important to reward yourself for the work that you have done. This helps in re-enforcing that positive behavior and training your mind to keep those things checked. So assuming today, your partner forgot to put the lid down again after using the toilet, rather than shouting, you could decide to take a deep breath, correct the mistake and calmly remind him to do so the next time. 

Most times, your partner’s reaction might be rewarding in itself, but you could also decide to treat yourself a little bit for doing the right thing.

4. Seek feedback

seek feedback

This is similar to doing a self-review, but instead of doing this with yourself, friends or family, you should do this with your partner. Ask questions like “Babe do you think I communicate better now?” or “Do you think my temper has improved?”. 

This goes a long way to improve your accountability. Relationships won’t survive without joint effort from both parties, and by involving your partner (and being open to constructive criticism), you’d be more accountable in no time. 

5. Work on one thing at a time

No one succeeds at working at all their excesses at the same time, they would end up drained and disappointed. Taking on more things than you can handle won’t help the situation, it’s better to work on such issues one at a time. 

As people, we tend to get comfortable with our ways of thinking and it is prudent not to underestimate the amount of effort it would take to make those changes. Be patient, and work on those flaws gradually. Trying to tackle them all together will often overwhelm you and leave you frustrated.

6. Set goals

Goal setting is a very important part of accountability. As we’ve explained before, accountability is all about being responsible for the things you say and do. You will come to realize that it is very hard to do that for things you cannot keep track of. That’s why it is important to set S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals for those behaviors that you would like to change or adjust.

7. Admit wrongdoings and apologize sincerely

As much as you’re working on your flaws, a big part of being more accountable is admitting any wrong-doing and apologizing for it. Without admitting the things you're doing wrong, you can’t begin the fixing process and healing process that allows your partner to forgive you without having reservations or building resentment

It is normal to make mistakes, everyone does, but admitting and accepting your fault helps keep you accountable to yourself and your partner. 

8. Keep track of commitments and hold each other accountable

It’s important to keep track of the commitments that you have set or certain behaviors that you have promised (to your partner or yourself) to change. There might have been instances where you offended him and you promised to change. 

Sometimes, it can be difficult because these characteristics might be innate, but to maintain a healthy relationship, sacrifices are relevant. 

Goal setting helps us achieve that. We can keep track of our commitments by writing them down in a journal, or pasting them on your bedroom mirror (or anywhere you look at, on a daily basis). This will serve as a constant reminder to commit to accountability and achieve it.

9. Make accountability a habit

The ancient philosopher, Heraclitus, once said change is the only constant in life, and it is very true. Accountability is not a one-time process that makes your relationship perfect, no. It is a continuous process that must be carried out continuously. 

Sometimes, we want privacy but it’s best to remember that once you accept to be in a relationship with someone, you are automatically your partner. We must make taking full responsibility for our actions a daily habit by working on our thoughts and reactions. 

10. Use an accountability framework

There are different frameworks that can keep you accountable in relationships. These frameworks range in complexity from a person that keeps you in check to more complex frameworks like RACI matrices. 

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These frameworks were created and are used to make sure you stay on track. Adopting a framework that will keep you in check may not be a one-time solution, but you’ll see gradual improvement if you stick to it.

11. Don’t make excuses

don't make excuses

Jordan Belfort, the inspiration for the hit movie ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ once said that the only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself. Excuses are weak and should not be accepted under any circumstances, especially when setting standards for yourself. 

Excuses are deal-breakers not just in romantic relationships, but in friendships, and the work/business environment as well. Do not make excuses for areas where you fall short. There are a million reasons why you do the things you do, that’s normal. 

But, what are you going to do about it? Excuses can only take you so far, pushing the blame on other people or things may get you off the first few times. However, when it becomes a habit, it could cost you some valuable relationships. 

12. Educate yourself

When being accountable, we will inevitably come in contact with problems, often internal, that we have not faced before. The best way to deal with those problems is to educate yourself on how to do better in your relationship. 

Luckily, we live in an internet-driven world where information is available at the tap of a screen. There are multiple sources you can use to educate yourself on the issues you have. Common examples are physical books, e-books, podcasts, blogs, YouTube videos, and of course, websites like this one right here.

13. Be transparent

If you are struggling with being less temperamental, and are committed to change that behavior as a part of being accountable, being open and transparent with your partner helps in alleviating the stress of being misunderstood. 

Be transparent with your partner and explain what is really going on with you when you react in certain ways. Being open and clear in that way helps you to be more accountable and responsible for your actions. They’ll also not judge you too quickly next time, and hopefully, give you the benefit of doubt even when you repeat the same mistake.


What is accountability in a relationship?

Accountability is simply being responsible for the things that you do and say in a relationship. Once you are committed to your partner, you have to consider him before taking certain actions and be sensitive before saying certain things. In many ways, accountability helps grow a healthy relationship.

How do you show accountability in a relationship?

You can show accountability by, improving your weaknesses, reviewing yourself, apologizing when necessary, educating yourself, being transparent, and not making excuses.

How do I keep my husband accountable?

The best way to keep your husband accountable is to encourage him by appreciating and rewarding him for his accountability. If you notice that he takes a little more care when using the bathroom, why not compliment him for that? Or prepare a very nice breakfast in appreciation?

What does accountability for your actions mean?

Being accountable for your actions means that you take responsibility for your actions and accept the things that you might have done or not done, which got you into your current situation.

What are the three C’s in a healthy relationship?

The three C’s of a healthy relationship are Communication, Compromise, and Commitment. The three C's are necessary in every healthy relationship. Also, accountability falls under all three C's, you should be able to communicate, sacrifice, and be committed.

In Conclusion

It is easier to live a carefree life without explanations, however, relationships do not work that way; they require accountability to function. I hope you enjoyed reading the list, these methods work and are essential in helping you to maintain a strong and happy relationship.

Does your partner show accountability? Are you accountable to your partner? How does that affect the relationship? We’d like to hear your answers and thoughts in the comment section below. Please like and share this article if you enjoyed it or found it useful.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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